From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: Lemon Cheesecake
Cheesecake is decadently rich. We love it in its unadulterated form, but sometimes the fresh flavor of citrus can take cheesecake to a refreshing new level. We aimed to develop a creamy cheesecake with a bracing but not overpowering lemon flavor.
Graham crackers, our usual cookie for cheesecakes, were too overpowering for the filling’s lemon flavor. Instead, we turned to biscuit-type cookies, such as animal crackers, for a mild-tasting crust that allowed the lemon flavor of the cheesecake to shine. For maximum lemon flavor, we ground lemon zest with a portion of the sugar. This released its flavorful oils dramatically. Grinding the zest also improved the filling’s texture (minced lemon zest baked up into fibrous bits in the cake). Heavy cream, in addition to cream cheese, provided richness, and vanilla rounded out the flavors. For ultimate creaminess, we baked the cake in a water bath. And finally, for an additional layer of bright lemon flavor, we topped off the cake with lemon curd.
Serves 12 to 16
While this recipe takes several hours from start to finish, the actual preparation is simple, and baking and cooling proceed practically unattended. The cheesecake can be made up to a day in advance; leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, although the crust will become soggy.